AFP, PNP: We wonât mount coup vs Duterte
President Duterte is seen during the 72nd anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City the other day.
Krizjohn Rosales

AFP, PNP: We won’t mount coup vs Duterte

Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Taking note of how President Duterte has given the military more than it can ask for, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assured the commander-in-chief yesterday that a coup d’etat against the administration is farfetched.

“The reforms implemented in the AFP include its modernization; increase in pay, allowances and benefits like housing so we can best perform our mandate abound,” military spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.

“We were given more than what we can ask for from a President and commander-in-chief who has shown genuine care and concern to his soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines,” he added.

Arevalo said Duterte’s statement during the anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) held Tuesday night was a mere random remark.

Duterte appealed to the military and police not to launch a coup against him, saying he is willing to relinquish his post if they ask him to do so.

“I know that the Armed Forces and the police will have to decide one day somehow. Do not do it please during my term,” the President said during the 72nd anniversary of the PAF at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde yesterday assured the President that there is no brewing attempt within the police force to unseat him through a coup.

He gave the assurance in response to Duterte’s statement asking the PNP and the AFP not to stage a coup during his term, saying he is willing to step down from office.

“I can assure the President and the public na wala planong ganyan ang PNP,” Albayalde told reporters after the closing ceremony of the PNP’s reorientation program for erring police officers in Zambales.

Albayalde has no clue where Duterte got information about a supposed plot to unseat him.

“Well, I really don’t know. The President has unlimited sources of information,” he said.

Arevalo recalled that as early as the first Joint AFP-PNP command conference that he presided over upon his assumption of office and in several other instances after that, Duterte conveyed the same message to security forces.

“He says, in essence, forget about mounting a military takeover that would lead to violence, death and destruction. If anyone among the military (or the police) thinks he or she can better run the country, just tell him and he will step down,” he said.

Arevalo, reacting to a similar pronouncement Tuesday night, stressed that the AFP “have time and again assured him, as we reassure him today, that we in the AFP shall constantly remain loyal to the flag, to the Constitution and to the Filipino people whom we swore to protect with our lives.”

He said the military, led by AFP chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., is comprised of professional and mature servicemen and women who are patriots and loyal to the Constitution and the duly constituted authorities.

“We have learned our lessons from the past and we shall live with it,” Arevalo, speaking for the AFP and all its other officials, officers and soldiers, declared.

As critics bring up the possibility of impeaching him over his stance on the South China Sea row, the President reiterated that he is ready to step down if the military is no longer happy with his performance.

“I told you before all you have to do kung ayaw ninyo ako (if you do not want me anymore), do not bring your weapons and mechanized armors there. Just call me and we’ll have coffee and I am ready to say, ‘It’s yours for the taking,’” he added.?Duterte said there would be a time when Filipinos would decide whether they need change. ?“Kasi ‘pag ganito palagi (If it’s like this all the time), there has to be a point of what generation mauubos ‘yung pasensiya (their patience will wear thin), I really cannot tell,” the President said. ?“It behooves upon me to be prudent. I am not egging anyone to go violent. But there must be some junction there in the life of a Filipino whether in this generation or in the next generation that you will have to decide because there is really a need for change,” he added.  – Alexis Romero, Emmanuel Tupas

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